15/02/2013

A Good Day To Die Hard

When a fifth Die Hard film was officially announced in 2010 we all knew that the best we could possibly expect was a decent action film that didn't completely defecate on the memory of cinema's finest action trilogy, and apparently, that was too much to ask. From the outset it's clear no one involved with A Good Day To Die Hard has any belief in the project whatsoever as we're treated to two massive, albeit somewhat entertaining, set pieces that involves a now frazzled and seemingly confused John McClane probably killing a load of innocent motorists stuck in traffic.

The hook of this film, if you can even call it that, is the fractured relationship between our hero and the son that hasn't been mentioned since 1988. Die Hard and Die Hard 2 used his crumbling, then repaired marriage to give McClane some motivation for his actions aside from saving the day and obviously the powers at be thought it was a great idea to introduce John Jr./Jack (Jai Courtney, the pretty meathead from Jack Reacher) after his daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead wearing ugly as hell chinos) showed up in 4.0, but since everything they say to each other is forced, disingenuous and stripped of any wit or interest, it's up to the action to carry the film.
The car chase around Moscow passes the time and there's more than enough explosions and gun shots to keep things moving but I couldn't sustain the laughter (masking the pain) when McClane Sr. is thrown from a car hanging from a helicopter through a window in slo mo. It could honestly be a cartoon. With another title and a different leading man this would be a forgettable but passable action film destined for the Tesco bargain bin and no one would care, but it isn't, this is supposed to be Die Hard, and the fact that everyone involved doesn't even attempt to include any of the magic that made the trilogy so special is just a kick to the genitals. And don't get me started on the lazy and insulting reference to Hans Gruber's iconic death...

There are no decent supporting characters, the villain is so paper-thin that they have to make him tap dance and eat carrots to give him a personality, and apart from a Frank Sinatra-loving cabbie, all the humour and memorable lines that contributed to making Die Hard so great is gone. Most of the time John McClane wanders around wondering how he got himself mixed up in trouble again when he's supposed to be on vacation while the audience wonders what the point of all this is.